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Image Entertainment presents
"He goes through the demonstration, and the cigarette is burning. He does this combination, the ashes don't fall...All the dancers are staring at the cigarette. Nobody gets the step. He finishes...takes the cigarette out, flicks the ash and he says, 'Okay, now do it.' And I said to myself, This guy is cooooool."
DVD Review"Do ya wanna have fun? Howzabout a few laughs? I could show you a good time..."You don't need to be a dance fan to be a Bob Fosse fan. I'm not, and I am. The minimalist virility of his choreography grabs attention from the first gesture—could be as minute as the flick of a wrist or as broad as a tableau of figures writhing, en masse—and his audience is hooked. This sexually aggressive style changed the Broadway stage and the musical genre in the right way at just the right time. "Say, wouldn't you like to know what's going on in my mind?"If dance is poetry in motion, Bob Fosse is the medium's Allen Ginsberg. His staccato cadence updated the artform to reflect the times, and a jazzy, seamy style became his trademark. He also directed his signature to audiences of the big screen with hits like Sweet Charity (based on Fellini's Le Notti di Cabiria), Cabaret (based on Christopher Isherwood's The Berlin Stories) and the autobiographical All That Jazz, as well as non-musical projects, highlighted by Lenny, a bleak film about the career of his friend and controversial comedian, Lenny Bruce. In 1973, he won an Oscar® for Cabaret, a Tony® for Pippin and an Emmy® Award for Liza With a Z.Fosse is a Broadway production, a 1999 tribute stringing together his "greatest hits." Thirty dancers take the stage at New York's Palace Theater in front of an appreciative audience. Two brief interview segments slice the presentation into three acts; the first with long-time Fosse collaborators Ben Vereen and Ann Reinking, who are joined in the second by dancer Dana Moore. Vereen reminisces about his first audition for the stage production of Sweet Charity and Reinking discusses her teacher's dichotomous vision. The concept for this extravaganza originated with Fosse wife, acclaimed dancer Gwen Verdon, who is credited here as artistic director. Fosse presents 30 featured highlights from a variety of shows, including Big Deal (a musical adaptation of Mario Monicelli's Big Deal on Madonna Street), Sweet Charity, Chicago, Pippin and All That Jazz, among others. Most of the work presented is still relevant today, with perhaps 1978's Dancin' seeming the most dated—and there's just nothing like watching a stage filled with young, athletic dancers smoking lit cigarettes, a tip of the hat to the evening's honoree. Fans of today's pop performers will find the roots of all those MTV moves right here."Spend a little time with me..."
Rating for Style: A-
Rating for Substance: A
Image Transfer Review: This is one clean transfer, presented in its OAR, "enhanced for 16x9 TVs." The source material is flawless, and Image's presentation puts us "front row center" for most of this performance, recorded live before a well-behaved audience. There is a fair amount of shimmer on the black brick backwall, but there is virtually none of the bleed, often seen on such recordings, from colored stage lights. Contrast is high, but I believe this is as it would be in the actual theater experience. The camerawork is almost as well-choreographed as the performance, making for a dynamic visual experience.Captions are provided on-screen for each piece, naming the show in which it originally premiered.
Image Transfer Grade: A-
Audio Transfer Review: Image graces Fosse with a superb 5.1 track, as well as a completely enjoyable version in 2.0. The former spreads across the front soundfield with the audience and random percussive sounds designated to the surrounds. There is even a bit of life from the .LFE in a few of the more dynamic numbers like Big Spender and Sing! Sing! Sing! While "recorded live" is not quite the same as being there, the 5.1 replicates the experience as best as possible. The 2.0, while not as aggressive, is crisp and remarkably full. Unfortunately, I am unable to review the DTS track.
Audio Transfer Grade: A
Disc ExtrasAnimated menu with music
Scene Access with 33 cues and remote access
Extras Review: While the menu system is nothing to stand up and dance about, it is slightly above the usual from Image, with motion on the sub-menus and some audio punch-ups. Chaptering is generous, with stops matching every musical number (including transitions) as well as the two brief interview segments.
Extras Grade: D+
Final CommentsFosse covers the full range of the choreographer's career and is the kind of dynamic performance that just might find you jumping out of your seat and trying a move or two yourself: better, then, on DVD in the privacy of your own home. Mesmerizing from curtain up to curtain call, if you have any connection to the dance, buy this disc."Fun. Laughs. Good time. Howzaboutit, pal-zy?"
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